Courtesy of the State Records Center and Archives.
Reproducing prohibited without express permission from the State Records Center and Archives.
Martinez, Manuel Conrado By Norma J. and Richard F. Becker
Manuel Conrado (MC) Martinez was born December 25, 1864 in Glorietta, New Mexico. He was the oldest of three boys born to Gregorio Martinez and Trinidad Lopez. His father was a veteran of the New Mexico Volunteers during the Civil War. He married Maria Gertrudes Cortez on February 20, 1893 and they had 20 children. Eighteen of these children lived to see adulthood.
The earliest references regarding MC’s occupation was as a teamster in the logging camps of Catskill and Ponil Creek. Ponil Creek was a lively town where miners, loggers, and railroad workers came to socialize. Manuel was known as a very good square dance caller. MC also worked as a Railroad Section Head before owning his own logging and timber company. While living in Ponil Creek he started his political career as a lifelong Democrat. He was the school director in 1910. He was elected as the first representative from the 8th District, Colfax County in 1911. While a member of the House, he served on five different committees. Those committees are Education, Liquor Traffic, Penitentiary, Public Institutions, and Roads and Highways.
Manuel was friends with the Republican representative from Colfax County to the state Constitutional Convention. The representative was Mr. Frank Springer, a prominent lawyer who represented the Maxwell Land Grant Company and the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company. Frank and his brother Charles also owned a large cattle and horse ranch. Manuel’s second daughter (Lenore) was married to their foreman, Jose Ildefonso Sandoval. Lenore and her sister Josefina worked on the Springer Ranch.
Manuel’s political career did not end after his term in the House of Representatives. Sometime in the early 1920s, he moved his family and business to Taos. On January 8, 1925, he was appointed Diputado Alquacil Mayor for Taos County. The alguacil was the executive officer of the court and the police officer of the town. He usually had tenientes and with their aid, he executed the orders of the court. He policed the streets day and night, and he and his tenientes were permitted to bear arms for the execution of these duties. The alcaides and the prison were under his charge and he could remove his tenientes or the alcaides for legitimate cause. The justicias, escribanos, and alguaciles jointly administered the justice of the district. The alguacil was allowed to enter the town hall bearing arms. In public functions, he was placed next to the gobernadores and justicias and above the regidores.
Manuel owned much of the land from Taos eastward to Palo Flechado Pass. As his children married, he gave them land to build a house on in Taos. Since many of the family members lived on the same road, the road was later named Martinez Lane. An example of MC’s dedication to education can be seen in his family. He ensured that all of his children could read and write both English and Spanish.
Manuel Conrado was appointed Village Marshall for Taos on May 18, 1934. He died a five years later of complications from diabetes. He is best remembered by his children and grandchildren for his sense of humor. The best-remembered example is that he called his mustache a “cookie duster.” He would use his mustache to dust the crumbs off cookies before he ate them.
Census of 1870
Census of 1910
Census of 1920
Census of 1930
Taos County NM Sheriff and Alguacil Mayors website.
Taos County Death Certificate #2801
New Mexico Marriages 1727 – 1900, Liahona Research (database online)
Interviews with grandchildren
Copy of official biography of Manuel C. Martinez
Correspondence with New Mexico Genealogical Society and authors
Jones, O. Garfield, "LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN THE SPANISH COLONIES AS PROVIDED BY THE RECOPILACION DE LEYES DE LOS REYNOS DE LAS INDIAS ", Volume 019, Number 1, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, Page 65 - 90. 1